Authored by Revere Health

How Being Overweight Affects Your Health

July 11, 2018 | Value-Based CareWeight Management

Obesity affects approximately 39.8 percent of adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more than 70 percent of adults are overweight or obese.

Being overweight or obese can lead to a variety of health problems, but what a lot of people don’t know is that even being slightly overweight can increase your risk. Here’s a look at how weight affects your health.

What are the health risks of being overweight or obese?

Being overweight or obese can affect many facets of well-being including physical, psychosocial and financial health.


Excess weight increases your risk for several conditions:

  • Cardiovascular disease: Obesity is a risk factor for several problems of the heart including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), coronary artery disease, chest pain, heart attacks and blood clots. Blood clots can also increase your risk of stroke.
  • Type 2 diabetes: A condition in which blood sugar levels are abnormally high, type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for other potentially serious medical conditions. Physical activity can help control blood sugar levels and prevent type 2 diabetes if you are at risk.
  • Musculoskeletal disorders: Overweight people tend to have more problems of the musculoskeletal system, including osteoarthritis and joint pain. Excess weight puts stress on the joints and cartilage, which leads to damage.
  • Cancer: Weight gain, even when it doesn’t result in obesity, is a risk factor for certain types of cancers including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, gallbladder cancer and kidney cancer.
  • Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea can interrupt breathing during sleep. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include heavy snoring and daytime sleepiness. People who are overweight may also experience other respiratory illnesses.
  • Pregnancy complications: Women who are overweight or obese prior to becoming pregnant are at an increased risk of developing pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Pregnant women who are overweight also have an increased risk of needing a C-section to deliver the baby.
  • Fatty liver disease: The exact cause of fatty liver disease is unknown, although people who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop the condition. Fatty liver disease can be damaging and may lead to cirrhosis or liver failure.
  • Kidney disease: Obesity increases your risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), which is one of the most common causes of kidney disease. Kidney disease can lead to other health complications.
  • High blood pressure: High blood pressure is a risk factor for a number of serious chronic conditions. Excess weight requires the heart to work harder to circulate blood to the rest of your body, leading to high blood pressure.

Being overweight may also limit your eligibility to undergo certain medical procedures. It’s important to work with your doctor to monitor your conditions and develop a plan together to maintain a healthy weight.


Although many people consider obesity to be a physical problem, it is equally a psychological problem. For example, some psychological conditions can contribute to weight gain, such as depression, anxiety or eating disorders. But being overweight or obese can also lead to the development of psychological conditions.

Unfortunately, the “perfect body” as defined by society is not inclusive of overweight or obese people. For this reason, many people who are overweight tend to feel self-conscious and internalize what they perceive other people say or think about them. These feelings can increase the risk of mood disorders and substance abuse.

It can be difficult to seek help for someone dealing with the psychosocial effects of being overweight, but there are resources available, including behavioral or cognitive therapy, support groups, mental counselors and others. Talk to your doctor about the resources available to you.


Obesity has a tremendous economic impact, leading to lost productivity, disability, premature death, increased life insurance premiums, etc. Additionally, treating obesity and obesity-related condition accounts for billions of healthcare dollars each year. Research shows obese adults spend 42 percent more on healthcare costs than adults with a healthy weight.

If you are struggling with your weight, know that you are not alone. If you don’t know where to start, go to your primary care provider. S/he can help put you on the path to achieving your health and weight loss goals so you can live a healthier, happier life.


We understand that everyone’s weight loss needs are different, and that’s why our healthcare providers and coaches address your individual concerns to help you reach your weight loss goals.



“Adult Obesity Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“What are the health consequences of being overweight?” World Health Organization.

“Effects of Obesity.” Stanford Health Care.

“Health Risks of Being Overweight.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

“Behavioral and Psychological Factors in Obesity.” Journal of Lancaster General Hospital.—issue-4/behavioral-and-psychological-factors-in-obesity.aspx

“The Economic Impact of Obesity in the United States.” U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The Live Better Team


The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.